Behavioural Assessments in Construction Procurement: A Bandwagon of Institutional Waste?

Dewberry, Chris, Hayes, Alan and Sarhan, Saad (2018) Behavioural Assessments in Construction Procurement: A Bandwagon of Institutional Waste? In: Proceedings of 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3—5 September 2018, Queens University, Belfast, Riddel Hall.

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Behavioural Assessments in Construction Procurement: A Bandwagon of Institutional Waste?
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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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The drive to create integrated and collaborative project teams has seen the behavioural assessment of suppliers become increasingly common in construction procurement exercises. Within the stated objectives of this are the desire to procure supply partners with the right ‘collaborative working capabilities’ and ‘cultural alignment’. The belief in the benefits of behavioural assessments in procurement has become so prevalent as to be referenced in the Infrastructure Client Group’s ‘Alliancing Code of Practice’ published by HM Treasury in 2015. However, the spread of this resource intensive practice has occurred without published evidence that it increases the effectiveness of procurement objectives. The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy and value of behavioural assessment practices commonly used in UK infrastructure procurement exercises. The analysis of the study draws on theories of organizational psychology and sociology as well as the industry experience of the co-authors. In doing so, the study addresses ARCOM’s 2018 central theme, ‘Balancing fragmentation and integration’. Importantly, the study addresses practices attempting to secure integration but which evidence suggests generate actual and potential waste.

It is concluded that the practices commonly used in behavioural assessment in construction procurement have little validity - the degree to which available evidence supports inferences and judgements made from scores on assessment measures. Also, the practice of using a small sample of assessed individuals to predict the behaviour of an organization as a whole over the life of a project has no known evidential foundation. The study’s findings shed light on institutional pressures in the development and introduction of management policies and construction procurement practices and call for greater collaboration between behavioural scientists and construction management disciplines. Such collaboration can be used to critically examine change proposals that may go on to generate ‘institutional waste’.

Additional Information:This paper is published open access at
Keywords:behavioural assessment, construction procurement, performance prediction, social science, waste, human resource management, project management, Psychology, construction management
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K220 Construction Management
N Business and Administrative studies > N614 Recruitment Methods
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
N Business and Administrative studies > N600 Human Resource Management
N Business and Administrative studies > N213 Project Management
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:32505
Deposited On:13 Sep 2018 11:04

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